Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
We hope today that you are enjoying some time with family and friends, and that you are sipping some of your favorite wine too, as you celebrate the holiday. It is our hope for you that today is a day of peace, love, hope and joy.
Today we also remember my dad – today would have been his birthday – yep – he was a Christmas baby! (I’ll spare the jokes). My dad – John Aellen, is the founder of the winery, along with his wife, my mom, Lucille. Way back in 1971 he had an idea (and dragged my mom along the way – willingly, I might add) to purchase a farm. Did I mention that the both of them were from Brooklyn, NY? They did not purchase just any farm, or farmette, but a 230 acre farm in completely and absolutely the middle of nowhere (really). Then – just to add to the fun – they decided to add some animals, and pretty soon, we had a zoo. (oh, woops – it only seemed like a zoo). Oh, and I forgot to add we had a working farm – hay, crops, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, (sadly, only one horse), chickens, and all the rest. THEN, to add to everything, they decided to start a winery in 1974 and by 1976, we had our winery license and were operational. Sounds kind of funny, huh?
Add to this the fact that my dad was totally blind from age 28, which is even more of an inspiration, when you think that in spite of this incredible handicap, he was able to accomplish all he did. And he also worked full time in Gaithersburg and Washington, DC. But he also had an incredible woman helping him – my mom, and a supportive family.
Well, here we are almost 40 years later, and now look dad! So, here’s a tribute to you, for your tireless work, and your dreams. To you who taught me to sing songs during the long, very boring hours working in the fields (making it incredibly enjoyable and fun) – taking “yard work” to a whole new level, crushing grapes until the wee hours of the morning, using a wheelbarrow to teach us right from left (or was that left from right?) and so many other precious things that don’t make a bit of difference to anyone. But they are all good memories, filled with love, which connects the two of us, and lasts all the way, without fail, into eternity.
So, here’s to you dad – Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to the most remarkable man I have ever met.
Your loving, devoted daughter – and the rest of us too… – p